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Snake Bytes, 6/7: D-backs get Irwined

And, it was going so well too, after Robbie Ray homered and Goldie Goldied....

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[AZ Central] Ray fails to go past 5 innings again - Robbie Ray found the magic that has been missing this season … at the plate. Ray allowed five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, making him 2-5 with a 5.14 ERA on the season and jumping his season's home ERA to 7.45. “I felt like I controlled the game there early, better than I had,” Ray said. “I was making good pitches down in the zone. I wasn’t really anything up until that last inning and I think my tempo was better. I was getting ahead of guys and putting them away instead of having long at-bats."

[FOX Sports] Robbie Ray starts strong, falters fast in another Diamondbacks loss - "Boy, he looked so good, was rolling," manager Chip Hale said. "But it's that bugaboo of the fifth inning. ... We need him to get through the fifth and not have to use our whole bullpen when he pitches." Peralta was 2 for 3 with a home run in his first game since May 8. But the D-backs had just three hits from players other than him and Ray, and the team has struck out 76 times in six games this month.

[] After jumping out first, D-backs fall to Rays - Ray hit his first career home run to lead off the bottom of the third inning, giving the D-backs a 1-0 lead. The starter became the first D-backs pitcher to hit a homer since Wade Miley on April 22, 2013. After his long blast to right field, Ray enjoyed a slow trot around the bases before receiving a silent treatment from his Arizona teammates when he returned to the dugout. He then singled in the fourth for the first multihit game of his career. "I just ambushed, expecting him to throw another heater and happened to connect," Ray said. "It was a fun moment."

[Arizona Sports[ D-backs fall to 9-21 at home after loss to Rays - Staked to a 2-0 lead, Ray failed to record that all-important shutdown inning in the fourth. One inning later things really began to unravel for Ray. First, Beckham clubbed a first-pitch two-run home run, connecting on a 93-mph belt-high fastball that cleared the left field fence to give the Rays their first lead of the game, 3-2. It was the 10th homer allowed by Ray this season. Then Jennings and Motter followed with an RBI double and sacrifice fly, respectively, to complete the four-run frame.

Team news

[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks once again juggling at-bats for six outfielders - Welcome back outfielder David Peralta. "I’m really excited; I’m really excited to be back with the team," he said Monday. "It’s difficult for me to be sitting the bench or watching the game and not do anything or something to help the team." With Peralta sidelined, the D-backs went 10-16. "But, we’re going to start from zero today," he continued, "so today is going to be a new day; a new week and we’re going to our best and we’re going to beat Tampa Bay and whatever team is going to come (to Chase Field).

[AZ Central] Peralta's return makes for overcrowded Diamondbacks outfield - Hale indicated Monday that a position player likely will be sent down, although he said, "It depends on how we get to Saturday." Assuming an injury doesn’t force Hale’s hand, Peralta, Owings and Bourn aren’t going anywhere. Hale likes having veteran Rickie Weeks Jr.’s bat as a late-game option, leaving Drury, Tomas or possibly Phil Gosselin as the odd man out. Gosselin would seem the logical choice – he had just four at-bats in Arizona’s recently completed five-game road trip – but that would leave Tomas and Drury with part-time roles in the corner outfield, something Hale isn’t fond of.

[Examiner] Escobar demoted to bullpen, Diamondbacks seek another starter - After two starts, the club made a decision regarding Escobar, and this was not a return ticket to Triple A-Reno. With that judgment, there remains a continued hole in the rotation, and a predicament of continuing concern. "We’ve put Escobar in the bullpen, and that means his start for this Saturday will be taken by another pitcher," Hale said before Monday’s game with the Rays in Chase Field. "He gives us some length, his fast ball is up there at 95 (miles per hour), and this, we believe, is his niche as a reliever."

[AZ Central] Lousy start stacks odds against Diamondbacks - If the Diamondbacks manage to turn their year around, they'll join the 2005 Astros, the 1974 Pirates, the 1989 Blue Jays and the 1914 Braves as the only teams to start as poorly as 25-34 and advance to the postseason. Speaking with reporters, La Russa chose his words carefully, saying at one point he didn’t want fans to think he was making excuses. "What you can’t do is you can’t say it’s only the beginning of June and we have four months to play," La Russa said. "You can’t say that. We have to fix everything we can as soon as possible. You have to feel that urgency."

[] D-backs at mercy of earlier teams in Draft - The D-backs lost their first-round pick as a result of signing free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke this past offseason, so they will not pick until 39th overall. As a result, scouting director Deric Ladnier has had to look at a larger pool of players. "Deric, I think he deployed our scouts properly," said De Jon Watson, senior vice president of scouting and player development. "We got a lot of looks at a lot of guys. We have a real good feel for the way the overall talent is in the Draft and feel good about our preparation for it."

[Arizona Sports] A third of the way through the D-backs season: By the numbers - The team ERA of 4.74 is ranked 26th. Arizona’s pitching staff has struggled this year, with Zack Greinke only recently coming to form and No. 2 pitcher Shelby Miller being put on the DL. The staff has allowed the fourth-most walks in baseball with 209, and its 1.44 WHIP is the league’s third-worst.

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks racking up strikeouts in record numbers - Hale believes Arizona’s hitters are putting themselves in difficult situations by being too patient early in the count. “Did you let your pitch you could handle go by early and take it for a strike and you allow the pitcher to get deep (in the count) and all of a sudden you’re swinging at balls in the dirt?” Hale said. “That’s when it gets frustrating on the coaching side and the instructing side when you see guys swinging at balls that definitely aren’t strikes for strike three or taking strike three."

[FOX Sports] David Peralta back with Diamondbacks, Edwin Escobar shifted to bullpen - Saturday's starter is to be determined. The D-backs could dip into the minor leagues -- Zack Godley and Matt Koch are options -- go to Josh Collmenter (presumably followed by Escobar) for a day or stay in order and go with Robbie Ray, who started Monday against the Rays, on regular rest. It won't be Shelby Miller, who is on the DL with a finger injury but threw 60-plus pitches in an extended spring training game Saturday. Miller will get another start at one of the organization's affiliates on Thursday, Hale said. He could then return June 14 to face the visiting Dodgers.

And, elsewhere...

[ESPN] Giants' Madison Bumgarner sets sights on Home Run Derby - Unfortunately for Bumgarner, Bochy won't let him compete in the derby. Even though Bochy initially told Olney he would let his ace participate if asked, he quickly cleared the record. "No, to be serious, I couldn't let him do it," Bochy said. "We couldn't let him do it." Bochy, however, said he would love to see what Bumgarner could do in the derby. "And Bum, he's convinced he could win it," Bochy said. "I think he would wear himself down in the first round, he'd try to hit it so hard." [I do think a pitchers-only HR Derby would be kinda fun to watch - Greinke, Bumgarner, etc...]

[WSJ] Youth Baseball and Surgery for Overuse Injuries - James Andrews, an orthopedic surgeon and chairman of the board of the American Sports Medicine Institute, has spearheaded many of the efforts to create pitching guidelines. Youth baseball injuries to the shoulder and elbow have gone up five-to sevenfold since 2000, he said. In 2000 he did maybe eight or nine Tommy John surgeries on children and teens a year. "Now it’s the number one age bracket of all the Tommy Johns we do," he says. "The majority are coming in from high school."

[San Jose Mercury News] Does Sandoval have the baseball Bumgarner wants most? - When third baseman Pablo Sandoval caught Perez's foul pop, and then plopped for a celebratory snow angel in the grass, it clinched more than the Giants' third title in five years. It punctuated one of the most mythic performances in baseball history. "I don't care much for keeping souvenir balls," Bumgarner said. "But that one ... if I did have it, I'd make sure I knew where it was. That would be one I'd keep safe." That's the problem. The Giants don't know where it is. But they do know who had it last: The guy who caught it. [Also, info on the fates of various other WS clinching balls, including the 2001 one]